SHIRLEY STEINER Shirley Laura Steiner, 90, passed away peacefully February 10, 2013, in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico. Mrs. Steiner lived in Santa Fe with her husband Fred Steiner from 1990 to 2010. In 2010 both Fred and Shirley moved to Mexico to be nearer to their daughter Jillian. Born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1923, Shirley began her violin studies at the age of four and by the age of sixteen was the concertmistress of the New Haven Symphony. She married composer and musicologist Fred Steiner in 1943, whom she met when they were students at the Oberlin Conservatory. Fred was Shirley's accompanist (as a composition major, of course he played piano). Love of music continued to be a major theme throughout her life; she and Fred hosted chamber music evenings at their home and in their later years enjoyed travel to see classical music and opera performances all over Europe and the United States. In the late 'forties, as the television industry was just getting started in Hollywood, the Steiners headed west to Los Angeles where they remained until 1958, when Fred was asked to go to Mexico City to head up a newly forming library of recorded music for Mexican television. Shirley adored Mexico and the family had wonderful adventures exploring as much as they could of the country while they were there, with Shirley reading everything she could about Mexican culture and amassing a fine collection of Mexican folk art. Upon the family's return to Los Angeles in 1961, she continued her studies in Spanish language and literature, completing her bachelor's degree at UCLA summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. She went on to get her master's degree in Folklore and Mythology, another topic she had fallen in love with by being exposed to the folk art and cultural traditions of Mexico. Shirley was an excellent cook and a creative decorator who loved textiles, clothing and fashion. She was known for her skills as a gracious hostess and nothing pleased her more than to have her friends and family enjoy the beautiful, art-and-music-filled surroundings she created. Over the years, she enthusiastically remodeled several houses she and Fred lived in over the years. Her daughter Jillian Sandrock notes, "My mom never met a wall she didn't want to knock out!" In 1990 Fred retired from composing to concentrate on his academic pursuits and the couple moved to Santa Fe, where Shirley became active in the Santa Fe court system's Citizen's Review Board, helping abused and neglected children and their families navigate the court system. They had two daughters, Jillian Steiner Sandrock, who also lived with her husband Arnold Sandrock in Santa Fe from 1990 to 2006. Her second daughter, Wendy Waldman, became a well-known singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles. Shirley Steiner is survived by her two daughters, grandchildren Abraham William Steiner Parker and Saida Staudenmaier, and great-grandchildren Hannah and Otto Staudenmaier. Her husband of 68 years, Fred Steiner, preceded her in death in June, 2011. At her request, no funeral or memorial services will be held.
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Published in Santa Fe New Mexican on Jan. 1, 1900